If working the 9 to 5 is my nightmare (and actual reality), travelling 9 to 5 is the dream! Typing this very sentence I sit in cubicle hell, hoping that my boss cant see that I’m doing something much more interesting than crunching numbers. I appreciate I’m lucky to have a stable job, especially one that allows me so much annual leave per year, but in an ideal world I’d be on the road travelling a whole lot more. Caroline and her husband Josh live my dream. Most of us know that running a blog is a full time job in itself anyway, so we know these guys are still massively hard working, but in this interview we find out how they ditched the office nightmare to live a life on the road.
1. Name: Caroline Eaton
2. Age: 26
3. Twitter Handle: @traveling9to5
4. URL: www.traveling9to5.com
5. Home Town: Chicago, IL
6. Current Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. … Business or pleasure? A little bit of business with a lot of pleasure…
8. Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment. Best bits, worst bits etc.
My husband Josh and I retired at the age of 26 in 2011, not from work but from the rat race in the traditional sense. We wanted to see what life was like outside of our 9 to 5 jobs and beyond our cubicles. We love traveling but aren’t necessarily planning on being digital nomads forever. We are in search of the freedom to design our own future. The best bits usually involve entering new countries and exploring the unknown, eating new foods and getting completely lost only to find the best restaurant in the city hiding in a back corner. The worst bits are almost always the attractions that we feel we “should” do because everyone says we should…which turn out to be over-priced, overrun and over-hyped. The constant packing and unpacking and being away from those we love for a prolonged amount of time can be exhausting.
LETS TALK TRAVEL
9. First travel experience?
I didn’t leave the US until I was 22 when I studied abroad at the University in Maastricht, Netherlands. Every weekend we took the train to a new adventure, running with the bulls, the Tour de France, white water rafting in the Swiss Alps. It was a whirlwind, fast-paced taste of where travel can lead you. We didn’t slow down for three months, but we also didn’t feel like we were able to immerse ourselves in the culture and truly get to know each city we visited.
10. Future travel plans?
We are exploring South America for the remainder of the year. We are hiking in Patagonia, in search of an anaconda in the Peruvian Amazon and cruising around the Galapagos for a week…with a few surprises up our sleeves also! After spending a year traveling internationally, we realized we have yet to see many parts of our own country so the current plan in 2013 is to spend the year appreciating the beauty of the USA. We just purchased tickets to TBEX in June so hopefully we will meet lots of travelers in Toronto!
11. If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
I would return to the middle of the bush in Botswana. We spent a month driving through Botswana’s game parks and camping in our 4×4 truck. The adrenaline rush during the day as you run into elephants, lions and hippos is addicting and the peacefulness at night with just your campfire and the millions of stars above is unforgettable.
12. If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
The dentist. Send me anywhere, to any doctor or to every least desired place and I would most likely choose that over the dentist. We recently went to the dentist in Bangkok to keep our teeth clean on the road and no matter what country we are in, it never gets better!
13. What 5 items would you not go travelling without?
Our 5 most important items on our RTW packing list:
1. Kindle 3G – you can access the Internet from (almost) anywhere as long as 3G service is available; our Kindle has saved us in many emergencies. The Internet moves deathly slow, and the browser is terrible, but it has always come through for us when we needed it.
2. Charles Schwab card – This card has no ATM or foreign transaction fees, and they reimburse other banks’ ATM fees which saves us at least $80 a month and allows us to carry less cash while we are traveling.
3. Sarong – I use this for a beach towel, a blanket, a dress, a pillow – you will be surprised with a little bit of creativity what a sarong can do!
4. A bag of instant oatmeal and/or a jar of peanut butter – my two go-to foods for any meal.
5. My DSLR – some days I hate carrying my heavy camera on long walks, but every time I go through my photos at the end of the day I know it was worth it. I am not good at keeping a detailed travel diary on the road, but I take photos of everything. My memories and stories are all in my memory cards and uploaded to Flickr.
14. Best bit of advice you’ve received?
There isn’t a right or wrong in life, you don’t have to finish a checklist to be successful. Define your own success and take control of your happiness.
You should get a good job and you will have good benefits and your company will take care of you for the rest of your career. You have to pay your dues just like everyone else.
16. Best bit of advice you can give readers of this piece?
If you aren’t happy with your current life story, rewrite it. Stop making excuses – it is always possible, usually not easy – but always possible.
17. Favourite ice cream flavour?
Coconut gelato– the kind with the fresh bits of coconut still in it.
18. Apple or Android?
I am an ex-apple user… currently carrying an Android phone but in search of a new MAC computer.. So I guess you could say I have a commitment problem and have yet to settle down with either.
19. Blogger or WordPress?
WordPress. I’ve been blogging for years before we started Traveling 9 to 5 and used Blogger way back in the dark ages of the Internet. WordPress is far and away the best platform for travel bloggers.
20. Hostel or hotel?
Guest houses. We love staying in small family-run places whether they call themselves a hostel or a hotel they are almost always small and homey feeling. We generally never stay in a hotel unless it’s free using our points!
21. Guilty pleasure?
Airport lounges. Josh still has platinum status from his consulting days, so when we fly we get to enjoy the airport lounges (with our backpacks!) and all the included luxuries of free food, drinks, showers and Internet. We get to the airport as early as possible to take full advantage of the amenities.
22. Your chosen super-power?
Eat anything in the world and as much as I want of it … and never get fat. I love tasting food while we travel, this would especially come in handy in Thailand.
23. Airplane seat – isle, center or window?
Aisle, especially on the long flights. I like to get up and walk around or go to the bathroom without climbing over anyone.
24. What song/album are you listening to right now?
Mumford & Sons: Sigh No More
25. Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website …
We started Traveling 9 to 5 not only to document our own travels but to make it easier for those planning trips. We want to show people how easy, budget-friendly and exhilarating travel can be. We are very open with our budget and our misadventures on the road as well as our favorite memories. Ask us questions, email or tweet us to meet up if we are in your area.
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